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Historic Photo Gallery

The State Hospital's first hospital building, built in 1833.

The 13-bed State Hospital was designed by Ithiel Town, foremost New Haven architect of the time, and built for less than $13,000 in 1833.

Early hospital expansion

In 1872, the East and West Wings were added on either side of the main building to add 126 more beds for patients and a dormitory for the new Connecticut Training School for Nurses.

Civil War military hospital, 1862-1865

During the Civil War, the U.S. government leased the hospital for $1,000 a year to use as a military hospital. It was temporarily renamed the Knight United States Army Hospital in honor of Jonathan Knight, one of the original founders of the hospital. Tents were erected on the hospital grounds to accommodate more than 1,500 beds. Regular hospital activities were temporarily moved to rented quarters on Whalley Avenue. Yale New Haven was on alert as a designated military hospital in every subsequent war.

Farnam Operating Amphitheatre

The George Bronson Farnam Operating Amphitheater opened in 1888, just as the concept of antiseptic surgery began to take hold. The Operating Amphitheater was closed in 1928.

Nurses at night rounds, c. 1899

"I remember the kerosene lanterns which we took with us each night when going on duty from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. There was a gas light over each bed. The gas lights were put out at 9 each evening, after which time the lanterns were used by nurses in making their rounds."

Mrs. Albert G. Lobb (nee Miss Elizabeth Alice Bolton), Connecticut Training School for Nurses, Class of 1903

Horse-drawn ambulance

The hospital's first horse-drawn ambulance was purchased in 1888 and used until 1914. "In those days the ambulance was horse drawn. If there was an accident case coming in, from out of town, they would telephone ahead and the ambulance would meet them at the Railroad Station. The ambulance would come back like a fire engine, the horses galloping, and round the corner into Farnam. When we heard the horses, we would run down to the Emergency Room."

Motorized ambulance

The hospital's first motorized ambulance was purchased in 1913. The horse-drawn ambulance was retired the following year.

Patient Ward, early 1900s

The ward concept -- separate wards for men, women and children -- lasted almost until the middle of the 20th century. With dozens of patients in a single, large ward, infection control was an ongoing issue.


Although most women still delivered their babies at home during the 19th century, hospital births became more popular in the early part of the 20th century.


In 1942, cancer chemotherapy got its start at New Haven Hospital, when two Yale scientists studying nitrogen mustard, the deadly gas used in World War I, found that it could shrink tumors.

Rooming in for maternity patients

A pioneer in family-centered maternity care, New Haven Hospital offered natural childbirth in the late 1940s and became the first hospital in the nation to initiate rooming-in, where mother and newborn were able to stay in the same room and be cared for by the same nurse.

Newborn special care

In 1960, Grace-New Haven Hospital opened the world's first newborn special care unit -- a model for countless other hospitals.


After the Salk polio vaccine was developed in 1955 and the Sabin vaccine in 1957, the polio epidemic declined sharply and the need for training nurses to care for respirator-dependent patients diminished.